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Maldives President Nasheed order riot police to crackdown on peaceful Civic Protest

Male', Maldives. 8.40 pm

Maldives President Nasheed orders riot police to crack down on peaceful civic gathering at Victory Square, in the capital Male'.

Media on site report that riot police, present in great numbers at Victory Square since mid afternoon, are preparing to move into the large gathering. The civilian gathering is currently estimated to number over 12,000 strong, the largest such civil protest in the Maldives to date.

Nasheed's order comes minutes after protest leaders air the demands on the gathering. Announce by Sheikh Imran, the gathering has two demands: 1) removal of all statues erected for the SAARC Summit in November 2011; and 2) an apology by President Nasheed to the Maldivian people for UNHRC Pillay's anti-Muslim comments in the Maldives a few weeks ago. The rationale given for the latter demand is that Ms. Pillay visited the Maldives on Nasheed's invitation.

Protest leaders announced that if these demands were not met, the meeting at large would decide on next steps.

Within the short 3 years of the Nasheed regime, Maldives Police have earned a reputation for brutality and the inordinate use of force and weapons against civilians. Photographic and videographic evidence of police beatings at civil protest have been widely circulated in social media.

Police Commissioner Faseeh warned last night that the police would not hesitate to use force to breakup the gathering. Speaking at a joint press conference with Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen Moosa Jaleel, Commissioner Faseeh reiterated that the police would act at any suspicion that the civilain gathering could go out of hand.

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